Turkey's Drone Industry Changes Airpower
By marrying industrial policy to local technical talent, Turkey has reached the leading edge of drone development.
In the popular imagination of the post-9/11 era, drones—properly called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—became a testament to the United States’ global reach and technological supremacy in warfare. The U.S. military used drones extensively in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, often to conduct targeted strikes on key high-ranking enemy combatants. But drones are no longer just the preserve of great powers with expansive military budgets. Drones, of all shapes and sizes, have increasingly become a fixture of modern warfare in conflicts around the world, seeing use in Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Yemen, and, most recently, Ethiopia.1 Even the Taliban, long a target of U.S. drone strikes, used drones in the battles leading up to the capture of Kabul in August 2021.2